ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Development of an integrated knowledge resource on Australian indigenous road safety

Hawkes, Emma

Aboriginal / Community


Road injury is likely to be a major cause of mortality among Indigenous peoples in most areas of Australia, but only for Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory are the data considered reasonably complete (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002, Macaulay, et al., 2003, McFadden, McKie and Mwesigye, 2000). Based on data collated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, motor-vehicle crashes and incidents involving pedestrians together were the leading cause of injury death for Indigenous males and females living in these jurisdictions in 1997-2001 (Thomson and Brooks, 2003). The overall rate for Indigenous males was 3.3 times higher than that of their non-Indigenous counterparts, and that of Indigenous females 6.7 times higher. (The identification of Indigenous status is incomplete even for these jurisdictions, so the ratios quoted here may underestimate the real difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates by as much as 30% (Thomson and Ali, 2003).) Death rates from motor-vehicle crashes and incidents involving pedestrians were higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people in every age group.

A striking feature of the death information from these jurisdictions in 1997-2001 is the much greater contribution of pedestrian deaths among Indigenous people than among non-Indigenous people: the numbers of Indigenous pedestrian deaths were eight times the number expected for males and almost 33 times the number expected for females (Thomson and Brooks, 2003). As well as the much higher contribution of pedestrian deaths, greater proportions of Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people die from single vehicle crashes (Treacy, Jones and Mansfield, 2002).